Belgium: Doctoral Student in the Area of Aquatic Ecology and Biogeomorphology of Rivers at University of Antwerp

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Job description

•      You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of aquatic ecology and biogeomorphology of rivers. The PhD is an extension of our present research, both experimental (e.g. in-situ and field flumes) and numerical modeling, in the field of plant-flow interactions and how this is structuring river ecosystems. The yearly development of macrophyte biomass and its spatial distribution is central in lowland streams: the ecosystem is ‘engineered’ by macrophytes that create large variability in flow velocities and geomorphology of the river. Macro-invertebrates play a key role in the transfer of energy from the organic matter to higher trophic levels (like fish). Central question is how the macro-invertebrate community (seasonally) develops and is maintained within vegetated streams and their role in the foodweb.

•      This will be studied in-situ (in Flanders and Poland) and in laboratory experiments. Stable isotope studies (natural abundance) will be applied to elucidate the food web assemblage in these riverine systems. Developed knowledge will be implemented within existing 2D river ecosystems models to understand macro-invertebrate dynamics and to analyze both scientific and management issues. Fundamental are the boundary conditions for development and maintenance of macro-invertebrate communities in changing climatic drivers and concerning management the question is what is the impact of yearly vegetation mowing on the development of macro-invertebrate communities and energy flux in the system.  This will be a continuation of existing field research and modeling studies in close interaction with other researchers in the research group for Ecosystem Management (Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences) as well as with the Laboratory of Hydraulics of the University of Ghent, Flanders Hydraulics and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences.

•      You contribute to teaching and research in the research group for Ecosystem Management (Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences), especially in the courses aquatic ecology,, biogeomorphology, ecosystem management and field course ecohydrology.

Profile and requirements

•      You hold a master degree  in Biology, Applied Biological Sciences, Physical Geography;

•      You can submit outstanding academic results;

•      Also students in the final year of their degree can apply;

•      Preferentially you have experience with aquatic ecology of macrophytes and macroinvertebrates and/or biogeomorphology and hydrodynamics of rivers;

•      Experience and/or interest in numerical modeling is an advantage;

•      The focus in your teaching correspond to the UA educational vision;

•      Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy (;

•      You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative, customer-oriented and cooperative.

We offer

•      A doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation;

•      The start date of scholarship will be January 1st 2014;

•      A dynamic and stimulating work environment.


•      Applications may only be submitted online, until the closing date September 22nd 2013;

•      A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel;

•      More information about the application form can be obtained from Ellen Huijer (tel.  03 265 31 45) or Robin Wynants (tel. 03 265 31 41);

•      For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. Patrick Meire (patrick.meire(at); tel. +32 (0)3 265 22 74) or prof. Stijn Temmerman (stijn.temmerman(at); tel. +32 (0)3 265 23 13).

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